Great Blue Heron – Not Just Another Pretty Face: Earth Week PSA Redux

Great Blue Heron Territorial Display - babsjeheron © Babsje (

Not just another pretty face – Great Blue Heron Territorial Display – babsjeheron

If the Heron can read this, you’re too close.

Great Blue Heron poised in the Charles River - babsjeheron © Babsje (

Great Blue Heron poised in the Charles River – babsjeheron

“… Eventually it all boils down to this: fifty-nine million years later, a caveman, one of a dozen on the entire world, goes hunting wild boar or saber-toothed tiger for food. But you, friend, have stepped on all the tigers in that region. By stepping on one single mouse. So the caveman starves.”

Ray Bradbury, “A Sound of Thunder,”
In “A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories

If the Great Blue Heron can read this, you’re too close. It bears repeating during this Earth Week: If the Great Blue Heron can read this, you’re too close. Every so often going back a full decade on this blog, I feel compelled to caution folks that Herons need their space.

In the past few weeks, I have seen so many photos of Herons that were too close or that had clearly been flushed by photographers. Flushing a Heron is not good, it is a rookie mistake – even if it makes for a dynamic photo. In fact, birding ethics organizations from Audubon to the US Fish & Wildlife Service almost all universally say avoid flushing birds. Don’t get too close.

People who know me know that my motto is “Walk softly and carry a long lens.™” It is important to give wildlife an extra-wide margin of personal space to not endanger them. I take precautions to remain hidden from their view, including use of telephoto lenses, high-power binoculars, and natural-cover hides.

I cannot support the idea of any photographer moving too close to wildlife. Humans can unintentionally endanger the wildlife they wish to photograph. For example, as passionate Eagle blogger and Veterinarian Doc Ellen points out, “People must stay 660 feet from an active bald eagle nest, according to Federal law.” Learn more from Doc Ellen about efforts to protect Bald Eagles CLICK HERE.
In taking hundreds of thousands of photos over a couple of decades, I can count on two hands the number of times I was within 10 feet of a Heron who could see me. Half of those times happened when I was hidden under a tree canopy and the Heron didn’t see my kayak and dropped down to land literally next to my boat. And one time was because I stepped in to protect the Heron from fishing lines, and the Heron’s response is evident in the lead photo today.

This is a critical time in the life cycle of Great Blue Herons, when the Herons are getting ready to nest and create the next generations. This is the time of year when Herons can frequently be spotted, and when novice birders or photographers put them at risk by getting too close. Interrupt a nesting or feeding adult Great Blue, and the chicks may go without a meal. Interrupt a feeding fledgling could ultimately mean life or death for the bird.

As a photographer, ask yourself:
Did you get that perfect shot, but flushed the fledgling in the process?
How long will your friends and family remember your photo?
How long will the fledgling remember the meal he missed or the calories he wasted fleeing you? 
Maybe only that single meal, those much-needed calories were his tipping point between life and death.

The post below was an earlier PSA rant about endangering Herons. Please humor me again during this Earth Day Week.

“… Eventually it all boils down to this: fifty-nine million years later, a caveman, one of a dozen on the entire world, goes hunting wild boar or saber-toothed tiger for food. But you, friend, have stepped on all the tigers in that region. By stepping on one single mouse. So the caveman starves.”

Ray Bradbury, “A Sound of Thunder,”
In “A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories

Great blue heron fledglings practicing 24 hours before they fledged.

Great blue herons practicing 24 hours before they fledged.

The sleek kayak had been tugged up into the shrubbery on the hillside just south of the keyhole bridge. No, wait, make that a sleek kayak and a custom canoe nestling there in the bushes. How odd.

I had noticed the same two paddlers the day before, farther north. How could a person not notice their high-end boats and expert-looking water skills?

Fast forward a day, and there were those boats again, cruising the southern waters.  The two men beached their custom-made canoe on the tiny nesting island. I quickly paddled my kayak over and explained to them about the great blue heron nest and the eggs that were due to hatch within the next 10 days. They replied, “OK, we’re outta here,” and left right away. Success!

Keyhole tunnel portal to the southern waters.

Keyhole tunnel portal to the southern waters.

I should have expected that something was afoot when I noticed a white flag hanging off the promontory southwest of the keyhole tunnel the next morning, it wasn’t there the day before. I should have connected it to the two expert paddlers, but didn’t grasp what it foreshadowed.

The next morning, I was enroute to the secluded shady hide along the western shoreline, thinking to pull in and read a book while munching a bagel for breakfast, when I noticed a man in a red kayak heading for the island. I wanted to warn him off, and so spun my kayak around. As I was about to aim towards him, a red canoe came out of nowhere, making a beeline for the island, the woman in front paddling harder and faster than I’d ever seen in a canoe.

I intercepted them, positioning my kayak in their path and they started to curve around me back towards the island. By this time, the man in the red kayak had meandered around the island and maybe 20 yards to the south, not threatening the island, so I focused on the red canoe and explained to the woman that they needed to steer clear of the island due to the nesting herons and chicks that should be hatching soon. She got the message and she and her partner gave the island and nest a wide birth and paddled in the direction of the east shore. Whew.

Next, I paddled south of the island and to the shady hide on the opposite shore,  and turned around to face the island before settling in, when I noticed a green canoe perilously close to the east side of the island, within a foot of the shore, ducking under some tunnel-like branches and then exiting and paddling farther east.

Curious about their odd behavior, I got out the binoculars and saw something hanging from one of the lowest branches on that side of the island. There was a flash of red, and I remembered seeing it Saturday afternoon when I had dissuaded the two men in a canoe from hanging out there – the two who said to me “we’re outta here.” I thought it was red from the baseball cap one of the men was wearing yesterday. But maybe it wasn’t that at all.

By this point, the man in the red kayak had circled the island and was coming around the north side, very close, too close. I paddled up to him and explained about the nesting herons and incipient hatching. He took off his baseball cap, craned his head and neck backwards to look straight up into the trees at the nest, and then back down. He gave me a level gaze and laconically drawled “Well, I need to rest my kayak in a stable spot for a few minutes,” and pulled out a snack and settled in. Aaarrrgh, he was virtually at the base of the nesting tree, his red kayak shining like a beacon that the adult herons couldn’t possibly fail to notice.

I paddled back towards the west because there was now another green canoe heading straight for the island. I paddled alongside and explained to the young woman in front that they needed to steer clear of the island due to the nesting birds, and – to my relief and gratitude – they headed much farther south.

Then, I circled the south side of the island and ducked into the tree tunnel and saw the red thing. There was a plastic ribbon sash circling a low branch, the red ends flapping down about six inches. Suspended from a white cord was a sort of rectangular card with a large number written prominently on it. The cord was wrapped around the neck of the top of a cut-off white plastic milk-bottle with the another number hand-written on it, such that about five inches of the milk-bottle top was suspended mid-air about three feet above the surface of the water. I thought maybe it was a trap for mosquitoes – they sometimes try to detect virus-carrying mosquitoes with traps, but an open-bottomed milk bottle wouldn’t be a very effective trap.

Putting one and one together, I deduced that it was some sort of scavenger hunt.

A scavenger hunt using the nesting island as a way station.

I was, and still am, horrified.

Even though I had explained to the men who placed the scavenger hunt apparatus in the shrubs about the federally protected herons sitting on eggs in a nest on the tiny island, they chose the island as part of their game. Even though I explained about the eggs about to hatch to the man in the red kayak, even though he looked directly up at the heron’s nest, he still chose to park his boat on the island shore for his snack.

I cut down the offending dangling plastic red sash and the milk bottle apparatus, and as I pulled it into the boat I noticed some sort of red plastic fob dangling from the bottom, sort of like a very large clothespin or something strange. I had no idea what it was, probably a weight to keep things from blowing in the wind, and I pulled that into the kayak too, and stashed it all behind the seat back with my sneakers and socks. In that instant, in my own small way, I understood what Greenpeace might feel like.

I then quietly, nonchalantly paddled southeast a bit and circled back to the front of the island. As I was doing this, a silver-haired couple wearing circa 1960 vinyl PFDs proclaiming Boy Scout Troop NNNN was bearing down hard and fast on the island in an ancient silver aluminum canoe. I explained to the woman that they couldn’t approach the island because of the nesting birds and eggs due to hatch and I thought they were paying attention to me, but I was mistaken. They were heading closer and closer as they circled around to the back of the island.

In the meantime, I paddled up to the snacking man in the red kayak still beached on the island, literally to beseech him to leave before the heron abandons the nest. While I was trying to talk to him, the silver canoe came upon me from behind and rear-ended my boat. Outrageous lack of seamanship on a 700-acre body of water. I asked them to get away from the island and again explained about the nest and what would happen if they got too close for too long and the adult herons abandoned the nest.

My heart was in my throat again and I paddled away from the island, heading west. I turned the boat around, and the lunkheads in the silver canoe were still there. I boldly waved my left arm in broad sweeping strokes motioning them all away from the island. And I kept on motioning them away.

The silver canoe then came right up to me and the woman asked me “Did you see the remote?”

I had no idea what she was talking about and so honestly said “no.” It was only after they paddled away that I realized that the red plastic fob on the end of the milk carton string behind my seat back must have been the “remote,” whatever a remote is.

Father great blue heron has fled the nest and watches anxiously from the tall pines.

Father great blue heron has fled the nest and watches anxiously from the tall pines.

I paddled to a secluded spot on the northern shoreline of south lake and relocated the milk carton and dangling fob on the branch of a different bush, far enough from the island to not be a concern for the herons, but close enough to their original placement to not make a huge difference in their little game.

As I raised the binoculars,  I could tell by then that the adult heron was not in the nest. Would the adult return? All I could do was watch and wait. 

I lost track of time, but it seemed an eternity. 

I headed west a little bit more, turned around, and there in the sky was the adult, making a nice big circle and a perfect landing on the nesting tree! He quickly got back into position on the nest and hunkered down.

By this point in the afternoon, the silver canoe was gone, the red kayak was a fair distance away, and I needed to head back for the day, and so I turned my kayak towards home.

Just then, a middle-aged woman in a tiny tan kayak with a big black dog wearing it’s own adorable PFD passed by. I remarked about her cuddly first mate and she said he couldn’t wait to get out of the boat.

I then realized that they were going very fast, straight for the island. I called to her and said you can’t go the island, there are nesting herons with chicks due to hatch soon and she replied, “I’m doing an orienting weekend. I need to get to the remote.”

And on she paddled towards the island, as my blood ran cold. I could only imagine the havoc her dog would cause romping about the island floor.

If you’ve been following this blog, you already know that the eggs hatched, the two heron chicks fledged and they have both successfully migrated, fall and spring, and found their way back to their home at the lake. I am in awe of how they did that.

Photographer gets too close to a great blue heron nest while the nestlings are being fed by an adult.

Photographer gets too close to a great blue heron nest while the nestlings are being fed by an adult.

Between mid-June, 2012, when the above story took place, and August 12, 2012, when the herons fledged for good, there were many – too many – instances of human encroachment at the nesting island. The father heron in particular would leave the nest, and watch anxiously from tall pines across the channel.

Whenever I noticed people landing on the island, or venturing too close and jeopardizing the herons’ survival, I’d try to educate them, and often shared my binoculars to let them see the beauty of the herons.

Fellow photographers were often the worst offenders, so eager to get closer and closer to get that “perfect shot” of the baby birds.

What is the cost of people being careless or disrespectful in nature?

If you’re a nature lover, birder, photographer, boater, whatever, take a minute and read Ray Bradbury’s short story “A Sound of Thunder,” and imagine that instead of a  butterfly, it’s a great blue heron.

And after your next nature outing, how would you answer these:

Did you and your children have a wonderful nature walk, but did the fledgling flush as your toddler squealed and clapped in delight at seeing the pretty birdie?

Did you and your group have a great afternoon orienteering, but did the mother heron veer away while taking fish back to the chicks because you ventured too close to the nest?

Did you and your friends have a fun time waterskiing, but did the father heron abandon his brood when your boat circled the nesting island too close one time too many?

Did you get that perfect shot, but flushed the fledgling in the process?

How long will your friends and family remember your photo? The waterskiing, orienteering, that particular nature walk?

How long will the fledgling remember the meal he missed or the calories he wasted fleeing you? 

Maybe only that single meal, those much-needed calories were his tipping point between life and death.

Read “A Sound of Thunder.”

Imagine that instead of a  butterfly, it’s a magnificent great blue heron.

Don’t be “that guy.”


Here are some great resources for birding/photography ethics:

The Jerk – ABA Blog by Ted Lee Eubanks

ABA Code of Birding Ethics

About the tagline of this post, it’s a bumper sticker I’d love to see:

“If the Heron Can Read This, You’re Too Close”







About today’s post: I have been nearly blind for many months and so have been largely absent from WordPress blogs. Eye surgery was supposed to take place at the end of March, but has unfortunately been delayed until the end of May. Until then, Patience is the word of the day.

Because of my near-blindness, I’m not able to link in my posts to the various host sites for WP challenges/tags in the way I have always done in the past, but please know that I value the sense of community here, especially among the Lens Artists, Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, BeckyB, Denzil, I.J., and more, who all encourage the entire international network of photographers and writers. Sorry that I cannot link directly at this time – this is the best I can do for now.

I do love a happy ending, and hope my eye surgeon delivers one for the Herons & me! Patience Grasshopper.


Great Blue Herons at TCAN Lobby January & February 2022 - babsjeheron © 2022 Babsje (

Great Blue Herons at TCAN Lobby One-Woman Show January & February 2022 – babsjeheron

Once again, the Great Blue Heron diving beneath the water’s surface graced gallery walls.

TCAN One-Woman Show January thru February 26 2022 Lobby Wall With TCAN Reflection © 2022 Babsje (

TCAN One-Woman Show January through February 2022 Lobby Wall With TCAN Sign Reflected; TCAN Stained glass art by Carol Krentzman, framed by Jay Ball

My Great Blue Heron photographs were once again on display on the walls of the lobby and theater in a free one-woman show at the Summer Street Gallery, of The Center for Arts in Natick. It was great to see so many of you there.

Since 2001, the Center for Arts Natick has been housed in the circa 1875 historic Central Fire House, where the Summer Street Gallery provides an opportunity for accomplished visual artists in the region to have their work prominently displayed for TCAN’s diverse and loyal audience.

The Center for Arts Natick believes the arts are essential to a complete human experience and to the creation of a vibrant, healthy community. TCAN serves the Boston MetroWest region by increasing opportunities to experience, participate in, and learn about the arts. To this end, TCAN strives to present arts programs of the highest standard that are available to everyone. TCAN dedicates its resources to providing community access to diverse arts programs, reducing barriers to attendance, and building appreciation through arts education.

If you’re in the Boston or Metro West area, please stop by TCAN to see the wonderful gallery displays of artworks by many talented visual artists, as well as excellent live music performances and stage plays. The gallery is open whenever the box office is open, so please check hours here.

As always, many of my own photos were taken on the waterways of the Charles River watershed.



Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Folks, now that some areas have opened back up in a new normal, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past THREE years and they still need your love more than ever.


The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Click here and here to learn more!


My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick – One-woman photography show through February 2022
Natick Town Hall – Current group exhibit thru January 3 2023
Five Crows Gallery in Natick – Represented since 2013
Audubon Sanctuary

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.


Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

A Patience of Herons™

© 2003-2023 Babsje. (

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick Center Cultural District, Earth Day, PSA


Posted on April 26, 2023, in ardea herodias, Art, Birds, Kayaking, Nature, Photography, Wildlife Photography, Wordless Wednesday and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 66 Comments.

  1. a good reminder to keep our distance Babsje!

    • Hi Wayne. Thanks for saying that. I know how you care about and nurture the Bald Eagles and Herons and Ravens and Crows and Hummingbirds there on Vancouver Island. You demonstrate loving respect for the living creatures and share your enthusiasm in a way that your readers follow suit.

  2. Babsje, thank you for reminding us of these things. The geese will be on their nests the first time I paddle this year. I have learned to keep my distance. The ravens are watching.

    • Hi Gary. You’re welcome and thank you for your own word picture: “The ravens are watching.” So much import carried by those four words. My smaller lake does not have ravens, however it has Mute Swans who harass the male Canada Geese every year to prevent the Geese from mating. The Geese try and try again but are out gunned by the fierce Swans’ territorial ways. I love them both.

  3. Thanks for taking protection of these wonderful birds so seriously. Can’t imagine how orienteering is more important than the survival of a species.

    • Hi Rebecca- thank you for getting it! Yes, indeed, how can orienteering outrank species survival? Fortunately, the orienteering program found a new location after that weekend – and I do hope that they learned to respect nature from our encounters. In terms of the Herons on that lake, primary predators are Bald Eagles, Red Tail Hawks, and Great Horned Owls. Apart from the apex predator of course: man.

  4. There’s so much wildlife here in Colorado that the rules about approaching any creature are widely publicized. Unfortunately, screaming kids, noisy hikers, pets, and orienteering hobbyists are as common here as in your neck of the woods.

  5. A gentle yet firm reminder to respect wildlife of any kind! I never heard of flushing – oh, yes, something about flushing birds when hunting maybe. Not a good thought though. Did you know Corpus Christi was named America’s Birdiest City in the past?

    Here’s hoping your surgery goes well for you and the herons will be happy to have you back!

    • Hi Jonell – thank so much for using the word “gentle” – sometimes I can be a bit strident when up on my soapbox! But my heart is in the right place even in rant mode. I did not know that about Corpus Christi but it makes sense now that I think about it, so thanks for pointing that out. And I appreciate your healing words about my eye surgery. I think the Herons may indeed remember me – I try to wear the same boating clothing every time – I have 5 identical outfits – to help them see a familiar figure and not a stranger.

  6. A spectacular capture, Babsje!! Thank you for bringing us the most amazing moments. I appreciate your profound reflection on why it is important to keep our distance. It really is about respect. I would not like someone following me closely with a camera. Imagine what the wildlife feel? It speaks to a “do under others what you would want” concept. Many thanks for your posts.

  7. LOL! That face is hilarious!

    • Hi there. I’m so glad you think so and thanks for saying that! A face only its mother could love, as that old expression goes. Well, I love it, too!

  8. One of my moments in nature woke me up to well-meaning people who have no clue. I had some friends with me and I was driving them to see a tree. I didn’t know that two great horned owls had had a nest in that tree and had two fledgling owls. As we approached the tree (by car) we saw the owls. My friends jumped out of the car with their phones and slammed the car doors. The adult owls took off, of course. What if we had shotguns? It was one thing to kill the babies; another thing to kill a breeding pair and the owls knew that. I was so angry at my friends, unfairly, but still, I was. It’s not about the photograph. It’s about the opportunity to see.

    I’m sure the parents returned, but… As for orienteering? Grrrrrr….

    • Dear Martha – you must have been horrified when that encounter with your friends and the Great Horned Owls happened! I like how you said this: “Its not about the photograph. It’s about the opportunity to see.” EXACTLY SO. Very well said. Thank you for relaying that experience here. (Also, I really like your painting of the horse!)

      • Thank you! 💚
        The owl thing was upsetting because both of my friends were really thrilled, love nature without fully understanding it (do any of us?), so they were completely obtuse in their excitement to see the owls. No malice, nothing bad, just unaware. I couldn’t even yell at them. It was too late anyway.
        I pretty much live for the chance to see. I know that’s a little unusual and a great luxury. I have two friends out here who are the same, and we met at the Refuge and they, also, walk. I hope you get your eye surgery soon and it goes well.

  9. I always carry my 150-600mm lens with me when I go birding and I respect the “Nature First” rules too. Good to launch this info again, sometimes you must remind people.

    • Hi there – such a smart thing to do, to carry such a versatile and long lens when you go birding. That can make a world of difference to both you the photographer and to your subjects, the birds. Their well-being can depend on the conscientious actions of humans. Thanks for your kind comment.

  10. The first photo is magnificent, Babsje! What a pose. Sorry about your encounters with people too close to the nests. I can’t believe someone rammed your kayak! Maybe some of those people were geocaching?

    • Thanks so much – I’m glad you appreciate that lead photo. Even beautiful and graceful Great Blue Herons can make like Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde at times. Yes I think those buffoons were geocaching but the lake is 700 acres so no excuse to ram my little kayak. Thanks for your empathetic comments.

  11. Wow! Thank you for being there. Saving lives.

  12. Thank you for all you are doing to protect these Great Blue Herons Babsje. Don’t worry about not being able to link directly to my challenge. Congratulations on the photo exhibitions.
    I totally agree with the need to keep your distance from birds, particularly during the nesting season. In Europe I have to say that Grey Herons allow you to get close to them when they are fishing. Sometimes they stand alongside anglers on riverbanks! But this is totally different from their heronries which of course must not be disturbed.

    • Hi Denzil. Many thanks for your thoughtful comment. You’re right about the need to protect heronries from human interference and I think your observation about the Grey Herons tolerating humans is spot on. Herons are opportunistic feeders and very smart and many will indeed shadow fishermen closely for an easy snack – especially here with the preponderance of catch and release fishing. Those fish thrown back by the fishermen are often easy pickings for the hungry Herons. It can be entertaining to watch them in the act. I have only seen Grey Herons in photos but they are just as gorgeous as our Great Blues. Thanks again for your excellent nature posts.

  13. Dear Babsje
    you made a very important point. Hanne-Dina and I are voluntary wardens to watch that people don’t get too near to the little terns. They are endangered on our coast. Photographers quite often come too near making the terns leaving their eggs and might cause unsuccessful breeding.
    All the best to you
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Dear Klausbernd. How wonderful that you and Hanne-Dina look out for and protect those precious tiny nesting terns. Here we have the Piping Plovers which are vulnerable in a similar way – nesting on beaches and exposed to human interference. Thank you for your kind compliment about my efforts to enlighten readers about the need to give wildlife and birds sufficient space. My best to all the Fab Four of Cley.

  14. You’re doing a good thing, trying your best to educate people about disturbing wildlife. I hope your eye surgery goes well.

    • Hi T.W. Thank you very much for your supportive comment about protecting wildlife. It is a labor of love, the Great Blue Herons are a passion. I get alarmed when I see them being jeopardized by unthinking people and every so often I’m compelled to haul out my soapbox for a PSA. Also many thanks for your kind well wishes about my eyes. I’m so eager to be back out in the field, able to see clearly!

  15. Your advice about how to approach wildlife — or not! — is spot on, and important. On the other hand, context counts. Yesterday afternoon, I was out on the deck of the boat I’m working on, and felt someone looking at me. That ‘someone’ was a Great Blue Heron who’d strolled down the dock and stopped to look me over. He wasn’t ten feet away, and when I noticed him he didn’t move. If I’d had my camera, it would have made for a heck of a portrait, although I would have needed my macro lens rather than a telephoto!
    Around our marinas, the bird life is rich and varied. Also yesterday, I photographed some young Green Herons, recently out of the nest, who were strolling the branches above my parking spot. On the other side of the parking area, Black-crowned Night Herons were nest sitting or collecting twigs for their construction projects, and Great Egrets in the treetops were spreading their feathers. Green Herons perch on dock lines, Mallards lay eggs in cockpit pockets, and swallows build nests in the supports for the floating docks.
    In all of our marinas, this sort of live and let live attitude prevails; the fact that the birds aren’t disturbed by anyone, has made them far more accessible. The biggest problem with working in a rookery is the amount of droppings from the nests, but everyone knows the routine: park away from the trees, and keep change in the car for an occasional wash! The birds were a little late in nesting this year, but now we’ll have a few weeks to watch the process on our coffee breaks!

    • Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. Your world there is rich in Herons! How wonderful about all of those other birds there as well. I’m glad you had that encounter where the Heron was watching you closely. They do become habituated to people and they do recognize and remember specific people who are regularly part of their environment. It’s like their equivalent of our “bird watching” – the birds engage in “human watching,” too. I imagine watching the nests and chicks and fledglings on your coffee breaks could be a high point of your workdays down the road. Enjoy!

  16. That was some wonderful display with your heron photos!

  17. What a story. It’s hard when wildlife is in such close proximity to densely populated (by humans!) areas. You threaded the needle between educating those who needed it and encouraging those who were respectful, not an easy task. I’m glad the herons persevered. COVID brought more people outdoors, granting more opportunities for humans to get a better understanding of the earth we live on but also making for more challenges for wildlife. It’s complicated!

    • Hi Lynn – I appreciate your kind compliment. When I get up on my soapbox about human encroachment around the nesting islands, it’s a balancing act – the challenge being to keep the tone from becoming too strident at the risk of offending people. You’re right about the pandemic drawing more people to the outdoors, that was a double-edged sword of a boon here. As you say, it’s complicated! Thanks again.

      • I watched an experienced heron rookery volunteer successfully get a tree branch cutting operation stopped just this afternoon. They were set to cut branches near a wire and chip them (you know how loud that is!) within a few yards of the rookery. There were some tense moments but after a number of calls involving the city and other entities, they left. It never ends!

        • It is heartening to hear of that volunteer’s eventual success. They are a hero. Thank goodness the city and other entities actually listened! I’m glad you wrote about this. Thank you!

          • I thought you’d be interested to hear about it. 🙂
            The city, which is the only town on the island, has some very pro-environment employees.

            • Yes, you’re right. I love to hear happy ending stories like that. And whatever were they even thinking in the first place?!?! Thank goodness for the environmental consciousness in your community. 😊

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